Erik ten Hag looks set to be disappointed in his pursuit of one of his top January targets according to a report which claims Chelsea are ‘clearly ahead’ in the transfer race.
A report on Wednesday claimed Ten Hag is keen on bringing Inter Milan and Netherlands star Denzel Dumfries to Old Trafford as competition for Diogo Dalot.
Corriere dello Sport reported that Ten Hag has ‘directly asked’ for Dumfries as he looks to recuit a new right-back for United.
They add that the English club ‘have been in touch’ with the player’s agent with the view to completing a deal in January.
The Inter Milan defender is said to have a ‘minimum asking price’ of £43m and Ten Hag thinks he would ‘suit his United style’.
Dalot has performed brilliantly for United this term but they are in the market for a new right-back so they can sell Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
But Chelsea were linked with Dumfries while Thomas Tuchel was still in charge and he remains on their wishlist despite the German boss being replaced by Graham Potter, according to TuttoMercatoWeb (via Sport Witness).
The report claims that Chelsea are keen on securing his signing in January but Inter would only agree to that if he’s loaned back to them for the remainder of the season.
It’s therefore claimed that any transfer would be ‘more in June than in January’.
But ‘there have been and still are contacts’ over Dumfries and Chelsea are ‘clearly the club ahead’ of Manchester United and any further suitors.
That’s helped by an already good relationship between the Blues and Inter following successful deals for Romelu Lukaku, in both directions, and Cesare Casadei, who arrived at Stamford Bridge for £11m in the summer.
Reece James is thought to be close to a return after his hamstring injury prevented him from representing England at the World Cup in Qatar, but his absence has proven costly for Chelsea, with Potter keen to have a similar option as backup or competition for the right-back berth.
READ MORE: Every Premier League club’s star of the 2026 World Cup features four English midfielders